A major British law firm has become the first major UK law firm to ope…

A major British law firm has become the first major UK law firm to open an office in Second Life, a fast-growing online community with more than 5 million inhabitants and a self-sustaining economy worth $2 billion (£1 billion) a year.

Solomon Cortes greets his guest at reception, shakes hands and makes small talk about his firm’s new floor-to-ceiling tropical fish tank before leading him into a meeting room and offering a chair.

There is nothing unusual in this scene – except that it is taking place at a virtual law firm, and Solomon Cortes is in fact the sunglasses-wearing digital alter ego of David Naylor, an intellectual property partner at Field Fisher Waterhouse.

Thanks to Mr Naylor and his team of tech-savvy lawyers, FFW yesterday became the first major UK law firm to open an office in Second Life, a fast-growing online community with more than 5 million inhabitants and a self-sustaining economy worth $2 billion (£1 billion) a year.

The two-storey virtual office boasts the same meeting rooms, corporate art collection and giant presentation screens that can be found at any self-respecting City firm. It even includes a roof terrace with a water feature that, according to Mr Naylor, was designed for “hosting client receptions”.

Mr Naylor devised the office with the intention of putting FFW at the forefront of a fast-emerging market for legal advice on how to conduct business in alternative digital worlds.

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